I wonder where have all the good web programmers gone? The company’s website loads even slower than my blog. Making it worse, it’s created using plain HTML. Being a pro-active person, I just can’t sit around and not do anything with all that I’ve learned. Armed with my short period of WordPress experience, I suggested my company to adopt an open source web content management system (CMS). The reason for that is that we can save up a lot of time in developing the company’s website and focus more on creating the content, that is what I think visitors would always want in finding out more about the company. Read “What is a CMS & why should you care?“, a very enlightening article.
So, the initial phase of the website development was discussed in a meeting and it was decided on my suggestion to adopt WordPress for the website since my experience with WordPress is quite extensive. 2 weeks had gone by and I later found out that my web designer wasn’t able to customize the layout template without me guiding her through. Her designing skills kind of amazes me since she has some artistic view but technically, she barely knew how the system work. I couldn’t blame her for that because it took me months to figure out how WordPress work. I knew I was in trouble because the development process is way behind schedule. I then took a brave move, I tried Joomla instead.
Quite a while ago, after I have used WordPress (at that time version 1.5 I guess), I tried out Mamboserver. Although I really like how the system can create useful portals, I find it difficult to understand how the system work. After a while, I made a quit on it and return to use WordPress. Since Joomla is a derivative of Mamboserver, I had no issue on installing the package. The only issue was to try and understand how to use the system and how I could apply the portal for the company use. I was left with little time to do that. I then spent half a day figure out how the settings are and used a basic template layout which I think may suite the portal design.
The next day, my big boss suddenly came over and wanted to know how the development is going on. Lucky for me, I had a mock up already being built so I showed it to him and pitched the idea of how the portal is going to be used. He was sold on my idea and we decided to ditch WordPress and develop a portal using Joomla. I got only a week to develop the portal prototype and present the portal for the management to see. I quickly called my web designer, briefed her on my new idea, guided her through the administration area in Joomla and asked her to create 3 customized template for the presentation. At that time, I was also swamped with the tender document submission I went to during my first week there. It was a hectic moment.
My web designer and I made it in time for the presentation. We presented our prototype to the management, got some new feedback and we were given another week to complete the layout and the portal should be online and replacing the current website by the 1st of October. For me, I’ve handle numerous WordPress website before so it shouldn’t be problem. The challenges subsequently that I had to face is to deal with the technical department since the company having their own web server in-house and there are no Cpanel settings for me to fiddle around with. The prototype were also built on a different web server and the new web server proposed were on a Linux based web server which I have no idea of how to configure it.
Pushing the project in making our prototype live, I had to bug the technical department on a public holiday Saturday. We then migrated the prototype customized Joomla application and MySQL database onto our new web server and setup the DNS to point to where the new location is. 2 hours later, after several tests and tweaking, the new website is now up and running. I was so relief. We finally made it in making the web portal live before 1 October 2007. I would like to thank the technical department for that. Here’s slideshow of my office along with some hardware tech stuff.
If you are wondering why did I changed my mind from suggesting the use of WordPress to Joomla. One of the main reason is, I found out that the company needed some sort of centralized place to keep the staff updated with internal news. With more than 50 personnel and most probably more people joining in soon, a portal is needed for a lot of internal use plus personnel can access the portal from anywhere as long as they are connected to the internet. We find that Joomla is capable of handling this kind of requirement. However, further testing need to be done to make sure that this project would be a success.
Here’s a screenshot of company’s website. My web designer colleague designed the header:
The Web Portal
The AJAX Admin
The new web portal that we have created is now faster in terms of loading time and functioning a lot easier than before. Alright, I’m off to explore more Joomla extensions that can be utilized by my company. Hhmmm…I could become a Joomla developer by then..hehe..